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* -)CT 23 1963 *] 

My Life as a 
Dissociated Personality 

By B. C. A. 

With an Introduction by 



Vfie tfotfwm 9nM 

Copyright, 1909, by Morton Prince, M.D, 
All Rights Reserved 

**My Life as a Dissociated Personality** originally 
appeared in The Journal of Abnormal Psychology 


The Gorham Press, Boston, U. S. A. 


BY B. C. A. 


[An account of the various phases of dissociated personality, written by 
the patient, after recovery and restoration of memory for all the different 
phases, cannot fail to be of interest. If the writer is endowed with the 
capacity for accurate introspection and statement, such an account ought 
to give an insight into the condition of the mind during these dissociated 
states that is difficult to obtain from objective observation, or, if elicited 
from a clinical narration of the patient, to accurately transcribe. In that 
remarkable book, "A Mind that Found Itself," the author, writing after 
recovery from insanity, has given us an unique insight into the insane mind. 
Similarly the writer of the following account allows us to see the beginnings 
of the differentiation of her mind into complexes, the final development 
of a dissociated or multiple personality, and to understand the moods, 
points of view, motives, and dominating ideas which characterized each phase. 
Such an account could only be given by a person who has had the experience, 
and who has the introspective and literary capacity to describe them. 

The writer in publishing, though with some reluctance and at my re- 
quest, her experiences as a multiple personality, is actuated only, as I can 
vouch, by a desire to contribute to our knowledge of such conditions. The 
experiences of her illness — now happily recovered from — have led her to 
take an active interest in abnormal psychology and to inform herself, so far 
as is possible by the study of the literature, on many ofthe problems involved. 
The training thus acquired has plainly added to the accuracy and value of 
her introspective observations. 

A brief preHminary statement will be necessary in order that the account, 
as told by the patient, may be fully intelligible. 

The subject has been under the observation ofthe editor for about two 
years. When first seen the case presented the ordinary picture of so-called 
neurasthenia, characterized by persistent fatigue and the usual somatic 
symptoms, and by moral doubts and scruples. This phase was later termed 
and is described in the following account as state or complex A. Later 
another state, spoken of as complex B, suddenly developed. Complex A 
had no memory for complex B, but the latter not only had full knowledge 
of A, but persisted co-consciously when A was present. B was therefore 
both an alternating and a co-conscious state. Besides differences in memory, 
A and B manifested distinct and markedly different characteristics, which 
included moods, tastes, points of view, habits of thought, and controlling 
ideas. In place, for instance, of the depression, fatigue, and moral doubts 
and scruples of A, B manifested rather a condition of exaltation, and complete 
% freedom from neurasthenia and its accompanying obsessional ideas. With 

'^^ the appearance of B it was recognized that both states were phases of a disso- 

^ *' ciated personality, and neither represented the normal complete personality. 

After prolonged study, this latter normal state was obtained in hypnosis. 

4 My Life as a Dissociated Personality 

and, on being waked up, a personality was found which possessed the com- 
bined memories of A and B and was free from the pathological stigmata 
which respectively characterized each. This normal person is spoken of as 
C. The normal C had, therefore, split into two systems of complexes or 
personalities, A and B. This relationship may be diagrammatically ex- 
pressed as follows: 

A B 

This account will be followed in the next number by one written by the 
dissociated personality B, describing the point of view of the patient in this 
state and also her subconscious (co-conscious) life (which she claims to 
remember) in its various relations and functionings. The analysis, how- 
ever it be interpreted, cannot fail to be a remarkable contribution to the 
subconscious. — The Editor.] 

My dear Dr. Prince, 

You have asked me to give you an account of my illness as 
it seems to me now that I am myself and well; describing 
myself in those changes of personality which we have called 

It is always difficult for one to analyze one's self ;accurately 
and the conditions have been very complex. I think, 
however, that I have a clear conception and appreciation of 
my case. I remember myself perfectly as " A '* and as 
'* B.'* I remember my thoughts, my feelings, and my points 
of view in each personality and can see where they are the 
same, and where they depart from my normal self. These 
points of view will appear as we go on and I feel sure that 
my memory can be trusted. I recall clearly how in each 
state I regarded the other state and how in each I regarded 

As I have said, I have now, as " C," all the memories of 
both states (though none of the co-conscious life which, as 
B, I claimed and believed I had). These memories are 
clearly differentiated in my mind. It would be impossible 
to confuse the two as the moods which governed each were 
so absolutely different, but it is quite another thing to make 
them distinct on paper. I have, however, been so constantly 

My Life as a Dissociated Personality 5 

under your observation that you can, no doubt, correct any 
statement I may make which is not borne out by your own 

I am, perhaps, of a somewhat emotional nature and have 
never been very strong physically, though nothing of an 
invalid, and have always been self-controlled and not at all 
hysterical, as I would use the word. On the contrary, I was, 
I am sure, considered a very sensible woman by those who 
know me well, though I am not so sure what they may think 
of me now. I am, however, very sensitive and responsive 
to impressions in the sense that I am easily affected by my 
environment. For instance, at the theatre I lose myself in 
the play and feel keenly all the emotions portrayed by the 
actors. These emotions are reflected vividly in my face and 
manner sometimes to the amusement of those with me and, if 
the scene is a painful one, it often takes me a long time to 
recover from the effect of it. The same is true of scenes 
from actual life. 

Before this disintegration took place I had borne great 
responsibility and great sorrow with what I think I am justi- 
fied in calling fortitude and I do not think the facts of my 
previous life would warrant the assumption that I was, 
naturally, nervously unstable. It does not carry great 
weight, I know, for one to say of one's self, — I am sensible, 
I am stable, I am not hysterical, — but I believe the state- 
ment can be corroborated by the testimony of those who 
have known me through my years of trial. The point I wish 
to make is that my case shows that such an illness as I have 
had is possible to a constitutionally stable person and is not 
confined to those of an hysterical tendency. 

A year previous to this division of personality a long 
nervous strain, covering a period of four years, had cul- 
minated in the death of one very dear to me. I was at that 
time in good physical health, though nervously worn, but this 
death occurred in such a way as to cause me a great shock 
and within the six days following I lost twenty pounds in 
weight. For nearly three months I went almost entirely 
without food, seemingly not eating enough to sustain life, and 
I did not average more than three or four hours' sleep out of 
the twenty-four, but I felt neither hungry nor faint, and was 

6 My Life as a Dissociated Personality 

extremely busy and active, being absorbed both by home 
responsibilities and business affairs. The end of the year, 
however, found me in very poor health physically and I was 
nervously and mentally exhausted. I was depressed, sad, 
felt that I had lost all that made life worth living and, indeed, 
I wished to die. I was very nervous, unable to eat or sleep, 
easily fatigued, suffered constantly from headache, to which 
I had always been subject, and was not able to take much 
exercise. The physician under whose care I was at this 
time told me, when I asked him to give my condition a name, 
that I was suflFering from **nervous and cerebral exhaustion." 
It was at this time that the shock which caused the division 
of personality occurred. Before describing it I should 
mention a few of my most pronounced minor traits which, 
though of no importance in themselves, will enable, through 
the change that took place in them, the marked alteration of 
character after the shock to be recognized. Among these 
characteristics were a great dislike of riding on electric cars, 
an almost abnormal nervousness about bugs and mosqui- 
toes — I always disliked going into the woods for this reason — 
an aversion to exercise in summer, and a fear of canoeing. I 
had never enjoyed sitting out from under cover or on the 
ground as the glare of the sun was apt to cause headache 
and I abhorred all crawling things.* I was reserved with 
strangers and not given to making my friends quickly; 
devoted to my family and relatives, fond of my friends, and 
not in the habit of neglecting them in any way. I felt much 
responsibility concerning business matters and had given 
a good deal of time and thought to them. Many more pe- 
culiarities might be mentioned. The change which took 
place in me in these respects will be presently related. But 
shortly before the complete change took place, to my surprise 
there were times when I did some of the things above referred 
to, such as sitting in the woods, etc. I felt a sense of wonder 
that I should be doing them and a still greater wonder that 
I found them pleasant. There was also a sense at times of 

*I have put this in the past tense because I have changed in some of these 
characteristics. I enjoy an out-of-door h'fe more than I used to; am fond 
of the woods and the water in spite of the insects and the fact that I am 
afraid of a canoe. 

My Life as a Dissociated Personality J 

impatience and irritation at being troubled with business 
matters or responsibility of any kind and an inclination to 
throw aside all care. I wondered at myself for feeling as I 
did and rather protested to myself at many of my acts but 
still kept right on doing them. It seems to me that these 
ideas and feelings formed a complex by which I was more or 
less governed and that this complex gradually grew in 
strength andcanbeidentified with that of the personality (B) 
which first developed.* 

The shock I received was of an intensely emotional nature. 
It brought to me, suddenly, the realization that my position 
in life was entirely changed, that I was quite alone, and with 
this there came a feeling of helplessness and desolation be- 
yond my powers of description. I felt, too, angry, frightened, 
insulted. For a few minutes these ideas flashed through my 
mind and then — all was changed. All the distressing ideas 
of the preceding moments left me, and I no longer minded 
what, a moment before, had caused me so much distress. I 
became the personality which we have since called " B.*' 
I do not feel now that the episode was of a character that 
would have affected a person of a different nature, or even 
myself had I been in good health. Psychologically speakings 
I suppose I was already in a somewhat disintegrated condi- 
tion and, therefore, more susceptible. At any rate it did 
affect me. From the moment of that shock I was, literally, 
a different person. The episode itself became of little or no 
importance to me and I looked upon it rather as a lark and 
really enjoyed it, as I did, in this character, succeeding events. 
With the change to "B** there was no loss of memory as some- 
times occurs under such conditions. It seems very curious 
to me that the effect of this shock was to change me not to the 
despondent, despairing mood of **A " which came later, but 
to the happy mood of " B.** 

In describing the two personalities I shall sometimes have 
to refer to them by the letters A and B to avoid the constant 
repetition of * 'myself as A — myself as B." 

As B, I was, apparently, a perfectly normal person, as will 
be seen from the description which follows, except that I was 

*The gradual growth of the B complex is well described in the account 
written by B to be published in the next issue of the Journal. 

8 My Life as a Dissociated Personality 

ruled by a fixed idea that upon me, and me alone, depended 
the salvation, moral and physical, of a person who was almost 
a perfect stranger to me. I had known this person but a few 
weeks. This idea became an obsession; all else sank into 
insignificance beside it; nothing else was of any consequence 
and I went to all lengths to help this person, doing things 
which, though quite right and proper, indeed imperative, 
from my point of view as B, were unwise and unnecessary. 
I believed that I was the only one in the world who would 
stand by him; that every one else had given him up as hope- 
less and that his one chance lay in his belief in me. 

With the change of personality, which will be clearer as you 
read, there was also a complete change of physical condi- 
tions. Previously neurasthenic, I, as B, was perfectly well 
and strong and felt equal to anything in the way of physical 
exercise. The minor traits I have above mentioned were re- 
placed by their opposites. A walk of three or four miles did 
not tire me at all; I tramped through the woods during the 
hottest days of summer, with nothing on my head, feeling no 
discomfort from the heat and no fatigue; I sat on the ground 
in the woods, hours at a time, not minding in the least the 
bugs and the mosquitoes; canoeing I was very fond of and 
felt no fear of the water. I also took long rides on the 
electric cars and found them perfectly delightful. These 
are small things but, as you see, it was a radical change and 
seems as strange to remember as the more important ones. 
As B, I was light-hearted and happy and life seemed good 
to me; I wanted to live; my pulses beat fuller, my blood 
ran warmer through my veins than it ever had done before. 
I seemed more alive. Nothing is stranger to remember than 
the vigorous health of B. Never in my life was I so well, 
before or since. I felt much younger and looked so, for 
the lines of care, anxiety, sorrow, and fatigue had faded 
from my face and the change in expression was remarked 
upon. I neglected my family and friends shamefully, 
writing short and unsatisfactory letters and leaving them in 
ignorance of my health and plans; business affairs I washed 
my hands of entirely. I lost the formality and reserve 
which was one of my traits. My tastes, ideals, and points 
of view were completely changed. 

My Life as a Dissociated Personality 9 

I remained in this state for some weeks, enjoying life to 
the utmost in a way entirely foreign to my natural tastes and 
inclinations as described above, walking, boating, etc., 
living wholly out of doors; and also doing many irresponsible 
things which were of a nature to cause m^ much distress later. 

Some of this might, perhaps, be ascribed to improved 
health though different from anything I had ever been be- 

After a period of a few weeks I received a second shock, 
which was caused by the discovery of deception in matters 
which my " obsession" had taken in charge. The revelation 
came in a flash, a strong emotion swept over me, and the 
state B, with all its traits, physical characteristics, arid points 
of view disappeared, and I changed to another state which 
we have since called A. In this state my physical condi- 
tion was much as it was before the first shock, that is, I was 
neurasthenic. From a state of vigorous health I instantly 
changed to one of illness and languor; could hardly sit up, 
had constant headache, insomnia, loss of appetite, etc. My 
mental characteristics were different. As before, however, 
there was no amnesia either for the state when I was B or for 
my life before the first shock. 

Now, though as A I was filled with most disproportionate 
horror at what had occurred during the weeks of my life as 
B, I was ruled by the same obsession, but with this difference: 
what I, as B, had done with a sense of pleasur.e, I, as A, did 
with a sense of almost horror at my own actions, feeling that 
I was compelled to do so by what seemed at the time a sense 
of duty. I felt that I must carry out certain obligations, and 
I doubt now, as I afterward expressed myself to you, if I 
could have resisted had I tried. I would not refuse the de- 
mand for help which was made upon me because I, as B, 
had promised my aid, but in complying I was obliged to do 
things which seemed to me, as A, shocking and unheard of. 
I felt that my conduct was open to severe criticism but I had 
promised and must fulfil though the skies fell. It seems to 
me now, in the light of our present knowledge of B, that I 
was in. a sort of somnambulistic state governed by what I 
have learned were co-conscious ideas belonging to B; that the 
impulses of the B complex were too strong to be resisted; 

10 My Life as a Dissociated Personality 

but in my memory my ideas as B were at this time so curi- 
ously intermingled with my ideas as A that it is useless to 
try to analyze my mind more accurately. In mood, point 
of view, ideals I was A, but I did the things B would have 
done, though from a different incentive. For a few days I 
remained A and then, owing, I think, to a lessening of nervous 
tension, I changed again to B and remained in that state 
for two or three weeks during which time I was physically 
well and happy again. At the end of this time, as a result 
of another realization of the actual situation, A reappeared 
and was the only personality for some weeks. These changes 
were due to successive emotional shocks. 

When you first saw me I was A at my worst. I had no 
amnesia for the events of the preceding months when, as B> 
I had been filled with the joy of living. There was no 
thought on my part of any ''change of personality " — I had 
never heard of such a thing — but I was like one slowly 
awakening from a dream. I was equally aghast at what I (B) 
had done for pleasure, and at what I (A), had done from a 
sense of duty; one seemed as unbelievable as the other. One 
of the most shocking things to me, as A, was the fact that I 
had enjoyed myself. Had I committed the most dreadful 
crimes I could not have felt greater anguish, regret, and re- 
morse. I was dominated by the fixed ideas and obsessions 
of B; I felt that I must respond to any call for help made by 
this person even though it was against my inclination and 
judgment to do so; there seemed no choice for me in the 
matter — I had to; I could see no point of view but my own. 
To do what seemed my plain duty I was willing to sacrifice 
myself in every way, but could not see that I (A) was now 
causing as much anxiety to my family as I had previously^ 
done as B; that I was sacrificing them also, or that my idea 
of duty was entirely mistaken. A, it would seem, was the 
emotional and idealistic part of my nature magnified a thou- 
sand times. My emotions and ideals as A were not different 
in kind from those of my normal self, but were so exaggerated 
as to be morbid. 

As A I was full of metaphysical doubts and fears, full of 
scruples. I did not attend church because I felt that I could 
no longer honestly say the Creed and the prayers. The 

My Life as a Dissociated Personality II 

service had lost all meaning to me and so it seemed hypo- 
critical to take part in it. I felt that I had utterly failed in 
the performance of every duty, and tortured myself with the 
remembrance of every act of omission and commission. I 
accused myself of selfishness, neglect, in fact, of nearly all 
the crimes in the calendar including, in an indirect way, that 
of murder. My conversation was always of the most serious 
character, — religion (I believed in nothing), life after death 
(of which I found no hope), and I dwelt much upon the fact 
that no one should be judged by their deeds alone, that no 
one could tell what hidden motive had prompted any given 
act. This was because I had (as B) done so many things 
which (as A) I wholly disapproved of and felt might be mis- 
understood. I did not understand them myself but knew 
that my motive had been good. I was frightened, bewildered, 
shocked, agonized — concentrated anguish and remorse. 
During these weeks I suffered more than any one ought ever 
to suffer for anything, and always, over and over in my mind 
went the same old thoughts, — " Why did I do as I did ? 
How could I have done it ? Why did it seem right ? What 
would my friends think if they knew } I was mad ! / was 
not myself.*^ Finally I decided to end it all — I could not 
live under such a weight of humiliation and self-reproach. I 
am sure, Dr. Prince, that you must remember how impossible 
it was to reason with me as A, for it was at this time and in 
this state that I was sent to you. 

Shortly after I came to you I began to alternate frequently 
and it is well to emphasize that one marked change in the 
state of A developed. In this state I now had complete 
amnesia for my whole life as B; for everything I thought 
and did.* In other respects, however, these states were 
identical with what they had been. The presence of amnesia 

*This came about in the following way: One day while A was in hypnosis 
she suddenly and spontaneously changed to a different hypnotic state char- 
acterized by change of facial expression, manner, speech, etc. It was after- 
wards recognized that this was the B complex in hypnosis. I had not before 
seen or heard of the B complex as such. I had only known that the subject 
from her own account had been in a neurasthenic condition and had been 
through periods of improvement and relapses. I did not suspect that these 
phases of improvement and relapses represented phases of personality^such 

12 My Life as a Dissociated Personality 

made no difference in the fact of change of personality. As 
I see it I was just as much an altered personality before the 
amnesia developed as afterward. As B, \ had no amnesia. 
I claimed not only as an alternating personality to remember 
A J but to be always co-conscious with A and to remember my 
co-conscious thoughts. As a co-consciousness, of course, I 
(B) would know A. As stated above I have now no remem- 
brance of that co-conscious life and cannot speak of it from 
my own knowledge. Why my memory of B should not in- 
clude that of her (my) co-conscious life, I must leave to you to 

The amnesia made life very difficult; indeed, except for 
the help you gave me I think it would have been impossible 
and that I should have gone truly mad. How can I describe 
or give any clear idea of what it is to wake suddenly, as it 
were, and not to know the day of the week, the time of the 
day, or why one is in any given position ^. I would come to 
myself as A, perhaps on the street, with no idea of where I 
had been or where I was going; fortunate if I found myself 
alone, for if I was carrying on a conversation I knew nothing 
of what it had been; fortunate indeed, in that case, if I did not 
contradict something I had said for, as B, my attitude toward 
all things was quite the opposite of that taken by A. Often 
it happened that I came to myself at some social gathering — 
a dinner, perhaps — to find I had been taking wine (a thing 
I, as A, felt bound not to do)* and what was to me most 
shocking and horrifying, smoking a cigarette; never in my 
life had I done such a thing and my humiliation was 
deep and keen. 

as was soon discovered to be the case. A few days after the B complex had 
appeared in hypnosis this phase spontaneously waked and alternated, as it 
had previously done, with the A complex. But now, as the writer says, 
there was amnesia on the part of A for B. The explanation for this is un- 
doubtedly to be found in the fact that a new synthesis and more complete 
dissociation of the B complex had taken place through the experience of hyp- 
nosis. Analogous phenomena I have observed in making experimental obser- 
vations but it would take us too far away to enter into this question here. (Ed.) 
* During the first weeks of my existence as B I had pledged myself 
to drink no wine. The promise was made under such conditions that no 
reasonable person could have felt bound by it. As B I realized this and felt 
no obligation to keep it but as A, I could not feel so, though you had assured 
me over and over again that I was not in honor bound. 

My Life as a Dissociated Personality 13 

I would often wake in the morning, as A, to find a note on 
my pillow or on the table — usually of a jeering tone — 
telling me to * *cheer up/' to " weep no more," etc. ; some- 
times these notes would be in rhyme and nearly all advised 
me not to trouble Dr. Prince so much.* These notes were 
written by B when I " changed " in the night, but, as A, I 
supposed, when I first found them, that I had written them 
in my sleep. If my condition had been one of remorse it was 
now one of despair. After a time, as A, I destroyed all the 
notes I found without reading them, hoping in this way to 
discourage B's fondness for writing. As a result I found 
one morning a sheet of paper pasted directly in the middle 
of my mirror. It was fastened at each comer with large red 
seals and bore the inscription " READ THIS " and con- 
tained information which it was quite necessary A should 
have. As B my attitude toward myself as A was something 
like that of a gay, irresponsible, pleasure-loving girl toward 
an older, more serious-minded sister. I, as B, had no pa- 
tience with A's scruples and morbid ideas and actually en- 
joyed doing things which I knew would shock or annoy my- 
self as A, though occasionally as B, I felt a little sorry for A. 
It must be remembered that while I, as A, recognized no 
division of personality and considered B's acts (of which it 
must be kept in mind I had no memory) as my own, I, as B, 
did not look upon A as any part of myself. As B, I felt my- 
self to be a distinct personality and insisted upon it to you 
over and over again. I realized that I was not normal but 
thought that A was not normal either. I believed that my 
own views were more correct than A's and were entitled to 
as much consideration and could never understand why 
you should prefer to keep A in existence rather than B. I 
felt that with the restoration of the normal self I could not 
'*come" as an alternating personality but I believed that I 
should always be co-conscious. As B, I felt very grateful 
to you for treating me as if I were a " real " person and allow- 
ing me to express my own personality. With every one else 
I had to pretend to be A, and my feeling of gratitude and the 
fact that you asked for my co-operation — put me on my 

*Some notes were of a different kind and you have told me that they 
were wiitten in nocturnal somnambulism. 

14 My Life as a Dissociated Personality 

honor as it were — was the underlying motive in telling you 
so much of A's inner life. I, as B, thought A was very silly 
not to tell you all the things which were troubling her — as 
was indeed true — and it seemed to me (B) a great joke on 
A to get up in the night and write you a long letter telling A's 
most secret thoughts and perhaps inclosing something I, as 

A, had written but had not really intended to send you. It 
is true that, as B, I was perfectly willing to tell you things 
which, as A, I would rather have died than disclose. Would 
this not seem to show that even when a personality becomes 
disintegrated the real self, the ego, remains unchanged and, 
in a way, governs the whole, even if imperfectly ? Even as 

B, feeling sure that the integration of the whole self meant 
my own extinction, I still, for the most part, gave my help 
toward that end. 

As B, I was very extravagant and spent money in a most 
lavish way, buying things which, as A, I felt I could not 
afford, for though A was not, like the famous Mrs. Gilpin, 
" upon pleasure bent " she did have " a frugal mind." 
Being, as B, very fond of all sorts of giayety, I constantly made 
engagements which, as A, who had no heart for social pleas- 
ures, I did not care to keep; I constantly encouraged visitors 
whom, as A, I did not care to receive; a volume could be 
filled with the troubles of this ill-assorted pair of mes, some 
of which were tragic and some very funny. 

As A, I was all emotion as regards people, but I never felt 
anger nor resentment. In this and other respects the change 
from what I was before the first shock was marked. I had 
become absurdly grateful for every attention shown me 
though I felt myself separated from all my relatives and 
friends by the, as I considered it, strange experience I had 
had. It seemed to me as if my haart were frozen and that an 
invisible barrier was between me and every one else and that 
I did not love my family as I had formerly done; it seemed 
to me that I felt nothing; but at the same time I was racked 
by the agony of the thought. Any tale of sorrow, suffering, 
or sin stirred me to the depths, but I experienced no sensation 
of pleasure or happiness. The out door world was unreal 
to me. I realized that it was beautiful; that the trees were 
green and stately, that the sky was blue, the wind soft, the 

My Life as a Dissociated Personality l$ 

water smiling; but I saw it only with my eyes and to feel 
beauty one must see it with the soul also. I felt myself no 
part of it, — I was in the world but not of it. 

As B, I felt no emotion except that of pleasure, using the 
word pleasure as meaning a " good time," — social gayety, 
driving, motoring, walking, boating, etc., but my enjoyment 
of these things was very keen. As B, I was always the gayest 
of the company, but for people I cared nothing. The little 
acts of affection which we all perform in daily home life I 
never thought of. The habit of shaking hands with one's 
friends, kissing or embracing those nearer and dearer had no 
meaning to me. Ordinarily, I think, when one shakes hands 
with a friend one feels the individuality of the person, more 
or less, and the clasp of hands means something, but as B 
it meant no more to me than clasping a piece of wood, and the 
acts of shaking hands, embracing, or kissing were all alike — 
it made no difference to me which I did — one meant just as 
much as the other. This lack of feeling applied only to 
people, for I loved the outside world; the trees, the water, the 
sky, and the wind seemed to be a very part of myself. The 
emotions by which, as A, I was torn to shreds, as B, I did 
not feel at all. 

My taste in reading differed greatly in the two states. As 
B my reading consisted largely of the magazines and short 
stories, though after becoming interested in the study of 
psychology I enjoyed reading on the subject as much as A 
did. Aside from that one subject, however, I preferred the 
lighter reading and, curiously enough, I liked to read stories 
which portrayed the very emotions which I never felt, 
Kipling fascinated me. As A, I read Victor Hugo, Ibsen. 
Tolstoi, Maeterlinck, a great deal of poetry, the * *Rubaiyat '* 
of Omar Khayam until I knew it by heart and anything that 
touched upon the deeper problems of life. 

In matters of dress and social pleasures A and B were 
diametrically opposed. At the time of the dissociation of 
character I was wearing mourning, but black was distasteful 
to me as B, and so far as was possible, I wore white — not 
even a black belt or buckle would I put on. This fact was 
far more strange than it seems, and caused much friction, for 
B's manner of carrying out her ideas was, under the circum- 

1 6 My Life as a Dissociated Personality 

stances, eccentric, to say the least, and as A it offended my 
sense of propriety and my pride. As A, I cared almost 
nothing for social pleasures, dress, etc., though my tastes in 
such matters did not materially change, but life was much too 
serious and painful to think of such frivolities; I went to the 
theater and places of amusement because you said I must, 
not because I cared to. 

B usually kept A's engagements unless they conflicted too 
much with her own wishes, and she kept A informed as to 
what had happened or was to happen, by notes, unless the 
changes of personality were too rapid. The diary, which 
has, at your suggestion, been kept, was also of great service 
in keeping A informed as to the course of events. I will copy 
a few extracts from this diary, as it gives a very good idea of 
the different moods and points of view. 

Under the date July 23, 190 — , B writes: " I am here 
again to-night, B, I am. I may as well tell all I have done, I 
suppose. For one thing I had a facial massage — there is 
no need of being a mass of wrinkles. I know A doesn't care 
how she looks, but I do. The Q's spent the evening here and 

— if I don't tell, S will, I suppose — I smoked a cigarette. 
S was terribly shocked and angry with me. Now, A, don't 
go and tell Dr. Prince, you don't have to tell him everything, 

— you do it, though. I must have a little fun." The follow- 
ing day A writes: " I have struggled through another day. 
B has told what she did. How can I bear it ? How explain ? 
I am so humiliated, so ashamed. Why should I do things 
which so mortify my pride 1 Quite ill all day, — I am, as 
usual, paying for B's * fun.' It is not to be borne." August 
20, " Terrible day — one of the worst for a long time. I 
cannot live this way, it is not to be expected. I am so con- 
fused — I have lost so much time now that I can't seem to 
catch up. What is the end to be ? What will become of 
me.f^" August 21, B writes: "Good gracious! how we 
fly around. A has been ill all day — could not sleep last 
night. I hope he (Dr. Prince) won't send for us for he will 
put a quietus on me, and as things are now I am gaining on A. 
Had a gay evening — no discussions of religion or psychology, 
no dissecting of hearts and souls while I am in the flesh." 
August 25, " I wonder if A is really dead — for good and 

My Life as a Dissociated Personality ij 

all ? It seems like it. The thought rather frightens me 
someway, as if I had lost my balance-wheel. She wants to 
die, she really does, for she thinks it to herself all the time, 
I wish I were myself alone, and neither A nor B; I cannot 
bear to hear A groan, she cannot bear my glee/' August 
26, **Such a day! A got away from me for a little while and 
tried to write a letter to Dr. Prince. It was a funny looking 
letter for I kept saying to her * you cannot write, you cannot 
move your hand ' but she had enough will power to write 
some and directed it. The effort used her up, however, and 
I came and the letter was not mailed." August 27, A 
writes: **I am too much bewildered to write. I have suc- 
ceeded in writing Dr. Prince, if I can only mail it. Oh, but 
I am tired! Such an awful struggle!'* 

To show how strangely the physical condition changed as 
I alternated between A and B : September — , * *A was used 
up and had to stay in bed all the morning but I came about 
one o'clock and Mrs. X asked me to motor down to Z. Had 
a gorgeous ride and got home at seven nearly famished, for 
A had eaten nothing all day — she lives on coffee and somnos 
— nice combination — steak and French fried, for mine, 
please. Y was delighted with the cigarette case; you must 
grin and bear it. A." As B, I had given a cigarette case as 
a birthday gift to a young relative to whose smoking A seri- 
ously objected. November — , **What a day! Now you see 
it and now you don't — A ill, B well — first one and then 
the other. I got ready to go to the dentist — then A came;^ 
and her head ached and she was too ill to go. Then I came 
again and practised — etc." I remember this day distinctly. 
As A, I could not sit up, my head ached so badly. Then I 
would lose myself, that is, change to B, and feel perfectly 
well and go on with the work in hand. Changing to A again, 
with amnesia for the time I had been B, I would feel very ill 
and have to lie down. I think I changed from one state to 
the other at least half a dozen times and A's day was one of 
suffering and B's day one of health and activity. Again B 
writes : * *I am really thinking seriously of going away. I am 
sure I could get along all right by myself. Dr. Prince says 
I am a * psychological impossibility ' (absurd), I am a psy- 
chological fact — more real than A. I could easily go away 

1 8 My Life as a Dissociated Personality 

— Dr. P. could not help it." As A, I was stricken with 
terror by an entry like the above for I knew that as B, I 
could carry out my threat if I chose. November — y *Well, 
once more I am permitted to write in this old diary. — After 
we got home C went to pieces. I never saw such a lot I — 
and then poor old A came, again anguish, wringing of hands, 
finally tears, then, thank goodness! I came myself. I 
cannot see why Dr. Prince would rather have that emotional, 
hysterical set than to have me! It passes comprehension. 
I know everything, always, and they only know a few things 
for a few minutes." 

This gives an idea of A's point of view: August, 190 — , 
' *I11 again — headache all day — these memories rack me. 
O, why, why, why did I ever feel and do as I did feel and do ! 

— and it all seemed so right to me, so impossible to do any- 
thing else. I cannot understand where my commonsense 
was — it is so incredible. I can't believe sometimes that it 
is not all a frightful dream — if I could wake and find it so! 

— the irony, the cruelty of it. Time is an * arch satirist ' 
indeed! He is having a little joke with me. There is one 
way to end it — how long before I avail myself of it ? How 
much must I suffer?" B feels quite differently: **I could 
have the loveliest time in the world if A would stay away 
long enough. There are lots of things to do and I am going 
to do some of them if I have half a chance. * A short life and 
a merry one ' shall be my motto." 

This diary was kept for about a year and is a most curious 
document. Both as A and as B I often wrote at length my 
own theories and explanations of my case. Sometimes when 
I was writing as A, co-conscious B would take control of my 
hand and I would write, automatically, most decided objec- 
tions to the ideas I had just expressed. 

I hesitate to write of the times when I was influenced by 
co-conscious B for I have no memory of the co-conscious 
process. I remember, in the alternating state of B, telling 
you that I could when co-conscious control A by willing, 
but of that " willing " as a process I have no knowledge. 
But, as a fact, on numerous occasions I was prevented 
from doing something I wished to do, or made, in some 
mysterious way, to do something I objected to. Afterwards as 

My Life as a Dissociated Personality 19 

B, I claimed, as I remember well, to have co-consciously influ- 
enced my other self by willing. I will give one instance of 
the effect on A of this co-conscious willing. As A, I felt it my 
duty to go often to the cemetery to which, as B, I objected. 
In fact, B said she would not go there nor allow A to do so. 
A writes in the diary as follows : * ^Another queer thing hap- 
pened to-day. I have not been to the cemetery for a long 
time so started to go there. I had gone only a little way when 
I began to feel that I could not go on. I do not mean that 
I did not wish to but that I could not easily move my feet in 
that direction. It was as if some physical force was restraining 
me, or like walking against a heavy wind. I kept on, however, 
and finally reached the entrance, but further I found it im- 
possible to go — I was held — could not move my feet one 
inch in that direction. I set my will and said to myself, I 
will go, I can go and I will, but I could not do it. I began to 
feel very tired — exhausted — and turned back. As soon 
as I turned away I had no trouble in walking but I was very 

I do not think I can make the living of such a life at all 
clear to those who know nothing of such conditions. It 
would seem impossible for one to get on at all and it was at 
once more, and less, difficult than could be imagined. The 
social situation was often most complicated; the nervous 
strain was intense; the anguish of mind frightful; but, as B, 
I had no amnesia; as A, I stayed very closely at home, was 
very intuitive and one grows extraordinarily quick in guess- 
ing; it works wonders to look intelligent and say nothing, 
particularly when no one suspects such a condition, for if 
one seems forgetful or absent-minded, the last explanation 
to suggest itself to one's friends would be ^'change of per- 

It all seems very strange to me now that I have become 
myself with all these memories. I feel quite differently 
about everything. The memory of those months of B's 
existence seems like the memory of a delirium. I feel, in a 
way, no responsibility for what, as B, I did. I remember 
those acts as my own; I deplore many of them; I cannot 
understand why they gave me pleasure for they would give 
me none now; I am sorry about them just as I would regret 

20 My Life as a Dissociated Personality 

having, in the dehrium of fever, done something which I 
would not in my right mind do, but I do not feel so humili- 
ated, so ashamed of them as I did as A; they are so foreign 
to anything I would naturally do that they seem to be their 
own excuse. If, as A, I could ever have realized that B was 
only an illness, I should have been spared untold mental 
agony. But, as A, remembering as I did in the first part of 
my illness all my neglect of my friends and family, my in- 
difference to their anxiety about me, the pain I caused them, 
and the many unconventional things I had done, I could not 
excuse or forgive myself; and never, as long as the state A 
remained did I cease to be terrified and ashamed by the state 
B. I thought there must be something fundamentally 
wrong in my nature; that if any one knew the things I, as B, 
had done, I should be forever disgraced. Everything I did 
as B, I, as A, disapproved of. The things that gave me pleas- 
ure as B, caused me, as A, the bitterest mortification. As A, 
I condemned myself as B, utterly without mercy, and I 
suffered intensely. 

I have said that I remember both A and B as myself and 
that is true, but there is a certain difference in my memory of 
B which I cannot quite describe. I do not understand my- 
self as B. It seems like a delirium. A seems somewhat 
like a delirious state also, perhaps dazed would be a better 
word, but I understand why I felt as A did. A seems ex- 
actly like myself in an absurdly morbid, emotional, and un- 
reasonable condition, but B seems foreign, though I was 
naturally of a gay and light-hearted disposition. 

I could have lived my life, after a fashion, in either one of 
these states had either one been stable enough to maintain 
itself without changing. Apparently my mental powers 
underwent no great change, but now that I am myself I can 
see that in neither state was I capable of forming a well- 
balanced judgment. As A, I could see only one side of a 
subject. I could not compare, adjust, and shift my point of 
view nor look at anything in an impersonal way. Perhaps 
such a state would explain the fanatics and faddists who hold 
so tenaciously to their illogical ideas and who go to such ex- 
tremes in carrying them out. 

As B, I should have been in trouble all the time over money 

My Life as a Dissociated Personality 21 

matters and the pleasure of the moment would have de- 
termined my course of action regardless of consequences. I 
should probably have lost all my friends, also, as I felt no 
affection for any one and was bound by no conventions. As 
A, I should have been in trouble all the time over everything 
on account of scruples, doubts, and fears, etc. 

A and B are a good illustration of the psychological law, 
which you yourself have cited, that " States of Pleasure are 
concomitant with an increase, and states of Pain with a de- 
crease of the vital functions." If I may so express it, A was 
a state of pain and B was a state of pleasure and their phys- 
ical and psychical conditions corresponded. As A, my psy- 
chical state was one of depression, hopelessness and despair, 
and my physical condition was one of neurasthenia. As B, 
my psychical state was of exaltation and happiness and the 
physical condition was one of vigor and ambition. When 
these conditions and relations are better understood by all 
physicians there will perhaps be hope even for the poor 

Should this article be read by any but those who have 
some knowledge of such conditions I am afraid they will say, 
" she was crazy,*' but I was not and never have been 
for one moment insane, though as A I used to fear I might 
be. During all this time I lived my life to all appearances 
like any ordinary person. I directed the daily routine of my 
household, took entire charge of extensive repairs to my 
house, and managed my business affairs to a large extent. 
These things were done perhaps in a somewhat erratic manner, 
because as B, I neglected them if possible, and this made 
it doubly hard forme as A, but not one of my family or friends 
suspected the true state of the case. I believe they all real- 
ized that I was in a serious nervous condition, very change- 
able as to mood, and felt much anxiety about my health but 
that was all. 

I have not spoken of my recovery in the restoration of my 
normal self as " C." As to how this was accomplished I 
know nothing except what I have been told which is very 
little. Everything was done through hypnosis and I have 
no memory of what occurred. I only know that I went to 
you one day in a more than usually disintegrated state; that 

22 My Life as a Dissociated Personality 

I was hypnotized and that I woke up myself with a feeling 
of strength and self poise to which I had long been a stranger. 
There were no blanks in my memory — I remembered every- 
thing. This had been partially accomplished before but the 
resulting state had not been stable and it would involve too 
wide a digression to explain it. Every improvement in my 
condition has been made by the use of hypnotism. I have 
complete amnesia for my hypnotic states but the results ob- 
tained I can speak of with conviction. Over and over again 
I have gone to you, as A, feeling utterly discouraged and hope- 
less; worn with insomnia and aching from head to foot from 
nothing but mental strain; so fatigued that the slightest ex- 
ertion was an effort. I have, in this condition, been hypno- 
tized and when I woke a change so complete had taken place 
as to be little short of miraculous. The depressing emotions 
had disappeared and were replaced by a feeling of courage 
and ability to endure the trials of my life; the sense of physi- 
cal and mental fatigue had given place to a sensation of 
lightness and well-being; the aches and pains were gone. 
I have then returned to my home comparatively happy, had 
a good night's rest and borne the strain of my peculiarly try- 
ing life for a longer or shorter period, as the case might be, 
with some degree of fortitude. This was the change which 
could be wrought by suggestion in hypnosis in the state 
called A, for I am speaking of the earlier part of my illness 
before a synthesis of memories had been effected and A was 
the personality most in evidence. The same statement, how- 
ever, holds good for the unstable state above referred to when 
my memory was approximately complete but when I was 
easily disintegrated by any emotional strain or physical 
fatigue. Even now, being my normal self, I wake from 
hypnosis with a marked increase in my feeling of strength, 
stability, and ambition. As I have stated, I have never been 
in vigorous health (excepting during the time of my existence 
as B) and have suffered all my life from so-called nervous 
headache. For this trouble I have been treated by a pumber 
of physicians and I have no doubt that I have taken every 
known drug for headache, but nothing has ever given me 
such prolonged relief as therapeutic suggestion in hypnosis, 
and my health is better now than for a number of years. 

My Life as a Dissociated Personality 23 

I realize the inadequacy of this description, Dr. Prince; 
it needs a mind trained to such study to do the subject justice 
and I cannot find the words to make the distinction between 
the two personalities as sharp as it really was. Moreover, 
I have touched only upon the lighter side of the case. The 
many deep experiences, some of them so bitter to remember 
and some of which have caused me lasting sorrow I cannot 
bring myself to relate and **the half has not been told.'* 
Few, I hope, have ever had or ever will have such an expe- 
rience as mine. It seems to me, however, that similar con- 
ditions must often prevail when they are not recognized, or, 
if recognized, are but vaguely understood; there is little 
knowledge of the necessary treatment and the case is con- 
sidered hopeless. As I have recovered, so may others simi- 
larly afflicted, and it is for this reason, and with the hope that a 
more general knowledge of the phenomena exhibited may be 
of some value in the treatment of such disorders, that I am 
willing to have the facts published. If it does serve that end 
I shall feel it some compensation for the suffering and tur- 
moil of the past few years. 

An Introspective Analysis of Co-Conscious Life 


[Prefatory Note: Part I, which appeared in the Oct. -Nov. 
number of the Journal, entitled, "My Life as a Dissociated Per- 
sonality," gave an account of the different phases of multiple person- 
ality as they appeared to the subject after restoration to health. The 
account which is here presented was written by the same subject in 
one of her states of dissociated personality known as B, and gives the 
point of view of the subject in this condition. This personality, it 
will be remembered, although an alternating personality, claims also 
to be co-conscious with the other phases of personality, including both 
the dissociated state A and the integrated normal state C, and to 
have a stream of mental life contemporaneous with the stream of the 
main personal consciousness of either state. (Objective evidence for 
this claim has in part been presented in two previous articles, one en- 
titled ** Experiments to Determine Co-Conscious (Subconscious) 
Ideation," by the Editor, and one on " Experiments in Psycho- 
Galvanic Reactions from Co-Conscious (Subconscious) Ideas in a 
Case of Multiple Personality," by Dr. Frederick Peterson and 
the Editor. These appeared in The Journal of Abnormal 
Psychology for April-May, 1 908, and June- July, 1908, respectively.) 

This second account derives its chief interest from the 
fact that it is an introspective analysis of co-conscious life made 
by a person who remembers, as she claims, this life. It is not, 
therefore, an interpretation of objective facts, as must be any 
conclusions drawn from co-conscious phenomena, like automatic 
writing and hysterical automatism, but the remembered conscious 
experiences of the person herself. In this respect it is a record of 
conscious processes similar to that which any one might give by 
introspective analysis of his own thoughts. 

Not the least interesting part of the analysis is the genesis of 
the co-conscious stream which the writer traces to a complex (B) 
which had previously existed for a long period as a phase of her 
character but without wwawareness for the same, and which con- 
tinued without interruption after unawareness had developed, and 


My Life as a Dissociated Personality 25 

thereby became independent and co-conscious by definition although 
it had really existed before. This complex, however, as will be seen, 
is not the whole of the co-conscious life, which also embraces a syn- 
thesis of perceptions of which the subject is not aware. The rela- 
tions of this co-conscious stream to the personal consciousness, its 
influences upon the latter, etc., are also described as they appear to 
the writer. The only aid given the writer in the preparation of this 
account was to indicate some of the various points upon which it 
seemed desirable to have such introspective testimony, such as " The 
Content of Co-Consciousness," " Separateness of Co-Consciousness," 
etc. These are given as headlines and have largely determined the 
form of the account. (The first headline, " Genesis of Dissociation," 
was inserted by myself after the account was written). Every care 
has been taken not to influence the writer in her introspective observa- 
tions. The rough draft, however, was criticized, some statements 
were challenged as interpretations, and the writer made to defend her 
statements as far as possible and make explicit what seemed too gen- 
eral or vague, or not clear, and to distinguish between fact and inter- 
pretation. I feel positive, however, so far as any one can feel positive 
in such matters, that the introspective observations have not been in- 
fluenced in any way, as the main object was to obtain an uninflu- 
enced account free from artifact. 

While it is difficult to accept as fact such an extensive and 
continuous co-conscious life, the only alternative explanation is 
more difficult of credence. The truthfulness of the writer is beyond 
question. There remains, then, only the hypothesis that all the 
memories of this life are dream-like fabrications and hallucinations. 
It is difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile this interpretation with 
numerous facts; among them, that in numerous instances it could 
be proved that the claimed memories of B (not possessed by C) 
have corresponded accurately with the facts of the environment,* 
even when the subject, in one instance, was dreaming and ** walking 
in her sleep " (somnambulism); that they included the contents of 
automatic writings, of which the subject was unaware, and various 
other peculiarities; that the personality is otherwise a clear-headed, 
intelligent person capable of close reasoning, and is not subject to 
fabrications of memory of any other sort; that the memories were 
definite, precise, logical, and could not be broken down under 
cross-examination, etc. These memories certainly do not resemble 

*Some of these data will be found in the article on the unconscious in 
this number. 

26 My Life as a Dissociated Personality 

fabrications as manifested in certain well-known cases (e.g. those 
of Floumoy, Hyslop, Angel, and others). 

The facts pertaining to the memories of co-conscious life were 
narrated to me, in the course of my study of the case, by B before 
the subject had begun the study of the literature, and when, there- 
fore, she was ignorant of the theories of the subconscious, multiple 
personalities, etc. 

It is interesting to note that the introspective observations of 
B agree in principle with those in the account given by the co- 
conscious personality in the case of Miss Beauchamp. It is also 
in harmony with the objective facts observed in numerous pathologi- 
cal cases, like that of Miss Winsor, and in artificial dissociations of 
which the phenomena of automatic writing are examples. Whatever 
interpretation be put upon such an account, the importance of having 
an introspective analysis of this kind cannot be questioned. 

One other point needs to be explained. Personality C spoken 
of in this account is not wholly the same personality as that which 
wrote the account in the last number of the Journal referred to 
above. To avoid confusion in the reader's mind I have not hitherto 
explained that, in the attempt to reintegrate the various dissociated 
states, a personality was first obtained and labelled C, which was not 
absolutely normal nor a complete integration. It was nearly so, 
however, but was unstable and varied in certain details, which 
would be confusing to go into here, from the final integrated normal 
personality C, who wrote the first account. Later this completely 
integrated and stable personality was obtained. The writer, B, 
claims to have the same co-conscious life with this apparently normal 
stable personality, only she has not the power to influence her, and 
therefore cannot " come " voluntarily. She can, however, perform 
automatic writing (as many normal persons can), and thus give 
evidence of a co-conscious existence. Through hypnosis, too, 
the alternating state B can be obtained. Afterward the normal 
C becomes integrated again and retains memories of this state as 
explained in her account. 

Some of the phrases were italicized by myself to make the 
points of the writer clearer. 

The writer desires it to be known that an opportunity was not 
allowed her to polish the style and give it a literary finish. An 
attempt was made by her only to weigh and note the facts as 
accurately as possible. 

My Life as a Dissociated Personality 27 

A complete experimental account of this case has been reserved 
for future publication. 

The Editor.] 

[Prefatory note by Dr, J. J. Putnam and Dr. George A, Water- 
man: The undersigned, having had the privilege of seeing, on several 
occasions, the writer of the following article, and of witnessing the 
remarkable transformations of personality which Dr. Prince has 
learned to bring about in her at will, desire to add to the very inter- 
esting story which she tells a few words of endorsement and appre- 

In the first place we are convinced that the patient is a truthful 
witness, a conscientious observer, an intelligent and right-minded 
person. In the next place, we believe that what she describes as 
memories were memories and not vaporings or fabrications. The 
facts which she gave to us, as " State B," are faithfully transcribed 
in this account. As she told them she made on us the impression 
of a person narrating her experiences and ready to be cross-ques- 
tioned on them. Furtheimore, a number of her statements were 
susceptible of verification and were verified by us. 

James J. Putnam, M.D. 

George A. Waterman, M.D.] 

I HAVE been asked to write an account of my alternating 
and my co-conscious life, and I have endeavored in 
the following pages to present the facts as they seem to 
me, but the task has been an extremely difficult one. 
The whole paper is, of course, retrospective and introspec- 
tive, and it has been quite impossible at times to draw sharp 
lines of demarcation between the personalities. No doubt 
I may have read into the facts somewhat, and no doubt 
my account may be colored more or less by my present 
knowledge of abnormal psychology, for I have read a good 
deal of the literature and informed myself on the subject 
as much as possible. Had I not done so I could not have 
written this account at all in any intelligible language — I 
should have no vocabulary in which to express myself. I 
find great difficulty now in making my meaning at all clear, 
for I have no words subtle enough. For example: I am in 
great need of a word that will express something in C*s 

28 My Life as a Dissociated Personality 

mind that is between a picture and a thought, and should be 
much obliged to any one who will supply it. I find myself 
in much the same position as a stranger in a foreign land — 
my words do not convey my meaning. Moreover, this 
paper has been written largely at odd times and at long 
intervals, and, consequently, is more or less disconnected. 
The main facts, however, of memory, though possibly the 
description of them may be tinged by what I have read, are, 
I am sure, absolutely correct. I suppose everybody's de- 
scription of a fact is more or less colored by his general 
knowledge. The condition of the mind has been constantly 
changing, and what was true of A*s mind was not true of. 
the C first obtained, and the mind of the wholly integrated 
C is different from either of the other two; so my task, as I 
said, has been beset with many difficulties. 

I have referred to the different personalities as A, B, 
and C, and in describing the system of ideas out of which, it 
seems to me, I developed, I have used the term " the B com- 
plex." The reader must not confuse the B complex with the 
B personality. The B complex was made up of floating 
thoughts, impulses, desires, inclinations, of which A was 
quite aware, but which had been for years suppressed; or, 
at least, she had been endeavoring to suppress them. It 
seems to me that the B personality (myself) grew out of 
this group of ideas, for in my character as a personality are 
all the ideas of the B complex. The two are distinct in 
the same sense that the seed is distinct from the flower, if 
I may be allowed to use metaphor. The B complex seems to 
me to be the seed from which I, the B personality, developed. 
I say that the B complex and the B personality are distinct, 
yet in referring to the B complex I find myself continually 
saying " I *'; it is difficult not to do so. This, I think, must 
show the intimate relation between the two. I think of the 
B complex and I find I think of it as myself, although I do 
not think of A and C as myself, and they do not seem to 
be my own personality. You may say that I am C trans- 
formed, if you choose, but a thing transformed is not the 
same. I am, at any rate, a distinct personality. 


A very long time ago C received an emotional shock 

My Life as a Dissociated Personality 29 

which it seems to me, as I look at it now, resulted in the 
first little cleavage of personality. This emotion was one of 
fright and led to rebellion against the conditions of her life, 
and formed a small vague complex which persisted in the 
sense that it recurred from time to time, though it was always 
immediately suppressed. This complex, it seems to me, 
was the same, though only slightly developed, as that which 
appeared later and is described as complex B. (See below 
second period.) In trying to explain this condition, which 
it seems to me was the first starting of what ultimately re- 
sulted in a division of personality, I will divide the time 
into periods and I will call this period I. 

Twenty years later she received a great shock in the 
sudden illness of her husband. The events of this period 
I call period II. This illness was of such a nature that 
C knew no complete recovery was possible, and that death 
might result at any time. This second shock aroused the 
same emotions of fright and rebelliony and seemed to revive 
and intensify the old complex. Then came the nervous 
strain of sorrow, anxiety, care, and the inability to reconcile 
herself to the inevitable. This nervous strain continued 
for four years. C's life during this time was given up en- 
tirely to the care of her husband; she tried to live up to her 
ideal — which was a high one — of duty and responsibility, 
and always having the sense of failure, discouragement, and 
apprehension. That old complex of rebellious thoughts, 
revived for the second time by the shock I have spoken of, 
became intensified and more persistent during the four 
years following. It was a rebelliony a longing for happiness, 
a disinclination to give up the pleasures of life which the 
conditions required; and there was a certain determination 
to have those pleasures in spite of everything, and this 
resulted in a constant struggle between C and this complex. 
For the sake of clearness I shall call this the B complex, for, 
as I have stated, it seems to me that it later developed into 
the co-conscious and alternating personality, B, myself. 
C was conscious of these thoughts, but they represented to 
her the selfish and weak part of her nature and she tried to 
suppress them; tried to put them out of her mind but they 

3o My Life as a Dissociated Personality 

still persisted, and she was always to a greater or less extent 
aware of them. There was no lack of awareness and no 
amnesia. As the months and years went on the sorrow and 
anxiety of the C group increased, and the conflicting and 
rebellion of the B group increased. C was ashamed of the 
latter and always tried to suppress such thoughts as they 
arose. If during those years anything happy had come to 
C the formation of this rebellious complex would, I believe, 
have been retarded, perhaps stopped altogether, but nothing 
pleasant happened; it was all grief, and everything went 
wrong. This B complex, it seems to me, as I have above 
stated, was the evolution of that which in the form of re- 
bellious thoughts developed in period I. 

Finally her husband died away from home, and that 
was, to C, the one thing she had felt she could not bear. 
She did not recover from the shock and became more and 
more nervous, was very much depressed, easily fatigued, 
suff^ered constantly from headache, and was possessed by 
all sorts of doubts and fears, reproaching herself for things 
done and undone. She also overtaxed her strength in 
attending to business matters. As she grew more and more 
neurasthenicj it seems to me as I look back upon it, the 
B complex grew stronger and more dominant^ and with this 
increase of strength of this complex, C began to live a life 
corresponding to the impulses belonging to it — staying 
out of doors entirely — and then there followed much im- 
provement in her health. She took long rides on the electric 
cars, which she had always previously disliked intensely; 
she had always been very much afraid of a canoe, but now 
she went canoeing often and enjoyed it. She was surprised 
and astonished that she should enjoy these things, as it was 
foreign to her natural and previous ideas and inclinations. 
There was no change of character, properly speaking, but 
she did things she disapproved of and knew at the time 
that she disapproved of them. There was a recognition that 
she was doing things she would not previously have done, 
and she protested to herself, but even this half-protest was 
suppressed. She would say to herself, " Why am I doing 
these things ? I never cared for them before. Why should 
I care for them now ? " The old doubts and fears were at 

My Life as a Dissociated Personality 31 

this time out of mind. The personality was C, but influenced 
and dominated by the B complex of which, of course, she 
was perfectly aware. It seems to me that the ideas of the 
C complex and the ideas of the B complex occurred con- 
currently and simultaneously, so that it could be said that one 
was co-conscious with the other. This is the way it seems 
to me, but I find it impossible to state positively from re- 
trospection that the two complexes were not rapid oscilla- 
tions or alternations from instant to instant. 

At this time there came to C a third shock of a strongly 
emotional nature, giving rise to events which I call period III. 
It brought to her the realization of a fact of which she had 
been unconscious; she had never thought of the possibility 
of such a thing and she was startled, frightened, angry, all 
in a flash — and I was there. James, in explaining " Sud- 
den Religious Conversion," speaks of a " flowering of the 
subconscious," — well, I " flowered," and C disappeared 
somewhere; the B complex had become a personality and I 
lived a life of my own choosing.* How slowly this complex 
gathered form in this case may be seen from the fact that 
it was five years from the time of the beginning of her hus- 
band's illness before I came as a personality. 

Now, when I came as a personality, I felt much younger 
than C; my ideas of what constituted pleasure were more 
like those of a girl of twenty — as C was when she received 
the first shock {period I). But in character, points of 
view, tastes, emotions, in everything that goes to make up 
personality I was quite diflFerent from anything C had ever 
been; also in health. I was strong and vigorous, taking long 
walks and feeling no fatigue. I was also very happy. Life 
seemed so good to me; everything was so beautiful; the out- 
door world looked to me as it does to one who has been for 
months shut in through illness. I loved the trees, the sky, 
and the wind; but I did not love people. I felt no care or 
responsibility — that is why I was so happy. I remained 
the only personality for about one month, when there came 

*That is, the remainder of the C complex subsided into the " uncon- 
scious," where, of course, its experiences were conserved. They could be 
recalled as a memory by B. As a system of ideas the B complex had been 
" flowering " for five years. (Ed.) 

32 My Life as a Dissociated Personality 

the fourth emotional shock, ipxodMcmg period I V , It was I, 

B, who received this shock and it brought hack C as the 
dominant personality but in a somewhat changed condition. 
Her mental perturbation was greater, she was more in- 
tensely nervous, full of doubts and fears and misgivings. 
This state is one which we have called A, for the sake of 
clearness, and will be presently described. As to myself 
I still continued, in a sense, as the B complex in the same 
way as during the time when C lived the life which was in 
accordance with my nature and opposed to hers, i.e., the 
out of doors life during the latter part of the second period; 
only, as a result of the time {period III) when I was the sole 
personality (though I did not think of myself as such) and 
had lived my own life, I had, it seems to me as I look back 
upon it, become more crystallized. There had before 
seemed to be a conjoining of two natures, and there was now, 
only the second one, myself, was more strongly integrated. 

C, or rather A, as I shall call this new phase, had no amnesia 
for the preceding period (///), and as before was still per- 
fectly aware of the B complex. She was ruled by this com- 
plex, as C had before been ruled, and kept right on doing 
things in accordance with the impulses of the B complex. 
She was something like a somnambulist, I think, partly real- 
izing the difference in her conduct, which seemed strange to 
her, and unable to help herself. This condition lasted about 
a week. Then I came again as a personality — the whole 
personality — and stayed a month. Then A came as the 
result of another shock, fully awake, and still without 
amnesia and filled with amazement, horror, and despair 
at what she (I, B,) had been doing, but still dominated by 
the B complex, of which she was still aware. These changes 
were all caused by emotional shocks connected with the 
same subject. As I, B, seem to represent all the lighter, 
gayer, and more irresponsible part of Os nature, so A 
seemed to represent all the sad, gloomy, and morbid part. 
She could hardly believe that she had done a short time 
before the things which she remembered perfectly as her 
own acts; she saw everything from an entirely different point 
of view. All the old doubts and fears returned stronger 
than before. The state of vigorous health was gone in a 

My Life as a Dissociated Personality 33 

twinkling; she was ill, hardly able to sit up; intensely nervous, 
unable to eat, sleep, or to put her mind on anything. In this 
condition she was strongly dominated by the B complex. 
She felt bound to keep promises which I (B) had made 
{period I II) 9 though she disapproved of the course of action 
it involved. There was no self-consciousness in the B 
complex of personality. I did not think of myself as a 
different personality until after the development of amnesia 
and unawareness in A, but in looking back I realize the fact 
that I was a personality long before I knew myself as such 
(period III). I came in the first place as a personality by 
accident, so to speak, and I became the B complex again 
in the same way, but in the mean time I had lived an in- 
dependent life, and the B complex was stronger and more 
isolated. It was at this time that A was sent to Dr. Prince. 

[The following paragraphs in brackets were dictated 
by B in hypnosis. Consequently, as will be seen, the writer 
in this state remembers her previous hypnoses, which is not 
the case when she is awake. — Ed.] 

[Shortly after A went to Dr. Prince one important change 
took place; she began to have amnesia for the time when I was 
in existence as the whole personality. The first time A 
had amnesia for me occurred at home after I had come 
spontaneously. I do not remember the exact circumstances 
of my coming or what brought me. It was in the morning, 
and it was raining when the change took place, and I realized 
my own personality. I wrote a letter to Dr. Prince and took 
it to the office to post it. Just as I dropped it in the box the 
change of personality again took place and A came to the 
fore to find herself in the post office with no knowledge of 
why or how she came there. From that moment A had 
complete amnesia for me as an alternating personality and 
also was unaware of me as a co-conscious complex. I do not 
know what caused the amnesia and unawareness, but Dr. 
Prince tells me there was a reason for it which he can ex- 
plain."^ I, however, had no amnesia for A as an alternating 

'^B had appeared accidentally in hypnosis, i.e., as an hypnotic state. 
Of this awake she has no memory. The next time the spontaneous change 
form B to A took place the latter had amnesia for B and unawareness for 
the B complex. (Ed.) 

34 My Life as a Dissociated Personality 

personality, which may be due to the fact that I was also 
co-conscious with A as well as an alternating personality, r^ 

A and I (B) alternated frequently for months, A having 
amnesia for me, but I remembering A. The change in 
personality was caused by any sudden shock, emotion, 
fatigue, anxiety. 

After C (whose memory was approximately complete 
but who was unstable)* was obtained, the three personalities 
alternated, A and C having amnesia for me (B) and for 
each other, but I had no amnesia, being, as I will presently 
explain, co-conscious with both states. As an alternating 
personality I (B) remember both states and my own co- 
conscious life^ hut not the hypnotic states. When I am co- 
conscious (with A and C), however, I remember my own 
hypnotic state and A*s, but not C*s hypnotic state.f 

There was no change in my (B's) character after I 
became an alternating personality except in so far as I was 
broadened by my own independent experiences. 

In hypnosis I remember that I came as B once but 
hypnotized, having changed spontaneously from A, who 
was then in hypnosis. After becoming A awake she had no 
memory of this, i.e., of me or herself in hypnosis, any more 
than I (B) have awake. On the first occasion after this 
when A changed to me (B) as above narrated, A was 
no longer aware of her rebellious complex, and she had 
amnesia for me as an alternating personality.] 


In reading this description of my co-conscious life the 
reader must remember that I am not trying to prove any- 
thing, as that is obviously impossible. I myself know the 
facts to be as stated, but that is not proof for any one else. 
I can only state these facts as they seem to me and describe 
my co-conscious thoughts as any one would describe their 
thoughts by introspection. I can only claim that they are 

*This was not the final C but a preliminary one who was not quite 
complete. (Ed.) 

tBeing in hypnosis now I remember this, but when I wake up as an 
alternating personality I lose this part of my co-conscious memory. 

My Life as a Dissociated Personality 35 

distinct memories; this I know. If any one can interpret 
them in any other way I shall be much interested in knowing 
how it can be done. My memory of my co-conscious life 
is just as sharp and distinct, even more so, than my memory 
of my alternating life. I also know that C does not have 
these memories. Should this article chance to be read by 
some other co-consciousness we may get additional evidence. 

I have been asked if it does not seem strange to me 
that I should be able to think my own thoughts while C is 
thinking hers. It does not, of course, seem strange to me 
at all, but I realize now how strange it seems to others. 
But how can any one say that there is not in his own mind 
a second stream of thought of which he is not conscious ? 

Besides an alternating life, then, as I have said, I have 
another life which I must describe; namely, that of my sub- 
conscious or co-conscious existence. When I am not here 
as an alternating personality, my thoughts still continue 
during the lives of A and C, although they are not aware 
of them. I am co-conscious with both A and C. That is 
to say, my mental life continues independently of theirs. 
This co-conscious life of mine is a continuation of my alter- 
nating life after the change takes place to A or C. I still go 
on thinking my own thoughts and retain all the memories 
of my life as B, and of my previous co-conscious life. I think 
my own thoughts, which are different from theirs, and at 
the same time I know their thoughts and what they do. 
My co-conscious life is very similar to what my mental life was 
before the unawareness developed in A, except for certain 
peculiar developments and differences which, it seems to me, 
have resulted from this unawareness. Before the unaware- 
ness the different complexes existed but as a part of one 
personality. Then A was aware of my (B) complex and 
resisted it; now she is not aware and cannot. Before the 
amnesia there were the same conflicting emotions and 
desires, but the division of personality was not complete. 
The A complex was aware of the B complex and vice versa^ 
but until A was weakened by ill health she largely controlled 
or inhibited the B complex. After becoming weakened, as 
I have said, when A was present she was influenced by the 
B complex according to circumstances. On the other hand, 

36 My Life as a Dissociated Personality 

when the B complex was present it was at this time aware 
of the protest of the A complex but was not at the time in- 
fluenced by it. A was completely dominated by B, but B 
was never influenced by A. 

As far as ideas, emotions, and points of view go, I was 
as much a personality before the amnesia and unawareness 
on A*s part as after, but still I do not speak of myself as an 
" I ** at that time, chiefly because I thought nothing about it. 
Before amnesia I do not think there were any thoughts in 
the B complex of which A was unaware, but there were 
many which she did not understand. 

After amnesia and unawareness I became a distinct 
personality in my own thought because I had a life com- 
pletely my own, of which A was unaware. My thoughts, 
my experiences, she knew nothing of. The unawareness 
removed all inhibition* of my thoughts, and from that 
time I can speak of my thoughts as co-conscious, because, 
while they ran along with A*s as they had done before, she 
was no longer conscious of them. They were the same 
kind of thoughts as had occurred in the B complex; the un- 
awareness only made them more isolated, separate, compact, 
better crystallized, and the fact that A did not know them 

fave them greater freedom. Inhibition was removed, 
tefore this she inhibited these thoughts. Otherwise the 
fact of awareness or unawareness did not make any differ- 
ence. I naturally, then, spoke of this group of thoughts 
and perceptions as a personality. 

With the absence of awareness there was a growth of 
the co-conscious experiences, and the fact of alternation 
gave me independent experiences, and all this added to and 
developed both the co-conscious and alternating lives. 
As an alternating personality I retained my co-conscious 

*This is more specifically expressed in the preliminary notes from 
which the final manuscript was written, as follows: " Before this (the 
unawareness) I had the same thoughts and inclinations, but A knew them 
and rebelled against them. Now when A ceased to be aware of my thoughts 
and life they were there all the same, but we speak of them as co-conscious 
by the definition. They continued as they had before. The unawareness 
only made them more isolated," etc. 

fThat is, of course, so far as she knows. As a fact she does not re- 
member the hypnotic states, which co-consciously she does. See above. (Ed.) 

My Life as a Dissociated Personality 37 

When C* was obtained the condition was the same, 
only I was less strongly organized co-consciously. I do not 
mean in separateness of thought or perceptions, but with C 
when first obtained I had less power to influence her, could 
not alternate with her by willing, and came less often spon- 
taneously, but later this changed somewhat. The fact is 
that this C was so unstable that the content of her mind 
changed constantly. What was true one day would not be 
true another. Later I could at times influence her, as 
explained on page 41. 

When I am co-conscious I see and hear many things of 
which neither A nor C are aware. Whether this is also true 
of me as an alternating personality, in comparison with A 
and C, I cannot say, for obvious reasons, but I think I do 
observe more closely and notice all little things more as a 
co-consciousness than when I am a personality. 


In attempting to describe by introspection the difference 
between my mind and C's I shall have to use some sort of 
metaphor, and so will say that there are two streams of 
thought, one below the other. The upper one is C and the 
lower one is B. These two streams are not of the same 
quality. The upper one, C, is more opaque — thicker, less 
sensitive to perceptions; an inward flowing stream; brooding, 
questioning, very active in itself, but not so quick to take in 
outside impressions as the lower one, B. The lower stream, 
B, is clearer — crystal clear — and is an outward flowing 
stream, open to every perception, lighter, not introspective. 
Now nearly everything that happens is perceived by some 
part of C's mind — the rustle of a paper, the cracking of a 
stick in the fire, the sound of a bird chirping, the smile or 
frown on the face of a person whom we meet, the gleam of 
their teeth, etc., everything that can be seen or heard is 
recorded in her mind whether she is conscious of it or not. 
These illustrations are taken from actual occurrences which 
I distinctly remember. Now into my stream of conscious- 
ness most of these perceptions are absorbed, but C is con- 
scious of only the more important ones. For example: 

*This was not the final complete C whom she could not influence at 
all. See footnote, p. 34. (Ed.) 

38 My Life as a Dissociated Personality 

Dr. Prince comes into the room and C rises and greets him, 
shakes hands and says, " Good morning; ** she is conscious 
of nothing but a sense of relief at seeing him, and is thinking 
only of the woes she has to tell him; but I perceive things 
like this: Dr. Prince's hand is cold; he looks tired or rested; 
he is nervous to-day; he has on such and such clothes or 
cravat, etc. These perceptions become my thoughts. C 
does not take them into her consciousness at all. Later, 
if she were asked if she shook hands with Dr. Prince she 
might or might not remember it; as to his hand being cold 
and all the rest of it, she would not have noticed; if she did 
it would be an automatic memory; she had not thought about 
it. When Cs mind is concentrated on any one thing, like 
reading or studying, it is closed to every other perception. 
She does not notice the sounds in the house or out of doors, 
but I, being co-conscious, do. I hear the blinds rattle, I 
hear the maid moving about the house, I hear the telephone 
ring, etc. She hears none of these things. She does not 
know that she is tired, and that she ought to stop reading, 
but all these things I know and think of. When she stops 
reading she becomes conscious that she is tired, but of the 
sounds in the house she knows nothing. I have read the 
book also, but these other things are added to my stream 
of conscious thought. So, you see, I know all C*s thoughts, 
and think my own beside. When she is talking with any one 
I often disagree with what she says. She does not think 
at all the same about many things. I think of replies I would 
make quite different from the ones she makes. Then some- 
times I do not pay very much attention to her conversation, 
though I know all she says, but go on with my own thoughts. 
I do not say that every perception is taken into my con- 
sciousness, it may not be. Something else may, and evidently 
does, perceive things which escape me. 

I do not remember everything all the time. I say this 
because some seem to think the " subconscious *' is always 
conscious of everythingy but that is not so with me. I forget 
sometimes, just as C does, but my memory is better than hers, 
especially when I am co-conscious. I think this last is so 
because when C is dominant, i.e. present, I carf think 
my own thoughts undisturbed. I am in a clear, light place 

My Life as a Dissociated Personality 39 

all my own. I do not have to think " I must do this or 
that, I must go here or there," as I must do when I am 
the alternating personality; I can just lie dormant, as it 
were, as far as physical activity is concerned, and think and 

Often when C is talking to some one, I know that she is 
misunderstood, she does not know that they have received a 
wrong impression, but I do. 

Now when we change, and I, B, am present as an al- 
ternating personality, it seems to me that the lower stream 
rises and the upper one is submerged, there is only one 
train of thought. The two streams are united in the sense 
only that I have no amnesia for Os previous stream of 
thought, but, of course, when I am the personality there is 
no C. I could no more think C*s thoughts than I could 
think any other person's thoughts. When the change 
takes place I, B, have control of the motor powers. What 
causes the change I cannot tell you — a sudden shock does 
it, likewise a strong emotion* does it, fatigue, anxiety, depres- 
sion, etc. Sometimes C feels the change coming, that is, she 
knows from experience that her mood of depression will end 
in changing. 


As I retrospect it seems to me that the two streams of 
thought are entirely separate even when we are interested 
in the same thing. My train of thought may be, and 
usually is, quite different from C*s. When C is ill, for 
instance, she is thinking about her headache, and how hard 
life seems and how glad she will be when it is over, and I 
am thinking how tiresome it is to lie in bed when I am 
just aching to go for a long tramp or do something gay. 
We rarely have the same opinion about any book we are 
reading, though we may both like it. C, however, enjoys 
some writers whom I find very tiresome, Maeterlinck, for 
example. She considers him very inspiring and uplifting^ 
and I think he writes a lot of nonsense and is extremely 
depressing. She enjoys poetry and I do not care for it. 
It happens often that when C is desperately unhappy, and 
her train of thought is black and despairing, mine is gay 

40 My Life as a Dissociated Personality 

and happy. My tastes and points of view are just the 
same when I am an alternating personality. I have already 
given illustrations of separateness when speaking of the 
content of my co-conscious life. The two trains of thought 
are always going on except when I am the personality. 
Then there is but one — my own. 


The only emotion that I remember to have experienced 
is one of pleasure and happiness. I know nothing of re- 
morse, reproach, and despair. I know that C has these 
emotions; I know how she feels about everything, that is 
to say, I know what she thinks she feels, but I do not myself 
experience them. I am sometimes disappointed and some- 
times provoked, but never really unhappy. 

Emotion seems to me something like mercury. C is 
easily affected by the slightest change in her social atmos- 
phere. Something happens and her spirits rise, she feels 
lighter, stronger, ambitious, and her heart seems to beat 
quicker; something else happens and her spirits sink, she 
feels heavy and dull and ill and has a return of neurasthenic 
symptoms. I never change in that way. I am always the 
same, that is, I always feel happy, and that is a very fortunate 
thing, for I can't do what I want to half the time. Trivial 
things affect C as if they were great things, and she spends 
nearly the same amount of emotion over the former as she 
would over the latter. 


My relations with the two personalities are not quite 
the same. With A I do not feel or taste. If she closes her 
eyes I cannot tell whether she is eating meat or candy 
unless I know beforehand. With C it is different. I know 
when she is touched and I know what she is eating. Should 
she be hurt I would feel it but don't think it would cause 
me pain. It is the same with her emotions; I know what 
they are from her thoughts, but she experiences them. 
When she walks my sensation is of being carried, though 
I see and hear and know everything and feel the ground 
under her feet. As an alternating personality I have no 

My Life as a Dissociated Personality 41 

pain. I can distinguish between touch and pain, but I do 
not suffer from the latter. The only difference is that pain 
is unpleasant. With A I do not feel any pain at all, not 
even when she has a headache.* Even as the personality 
(B) I feel no pain, that is, what A and C think of as pain. 
I have nothing but an unpleasant sensation. When I am 
tested by pin pricks or pinching I know it is a prick 
or a pinch and not a touch, but it does not hurt. I do not 
know whether this would be true for severe tests or not, but 
I do not feel pain at the dentist's, though A and C suffer 


Voluntarily I can often, not always, make both C and 
A do the thing I wish to do or go to the place I wish to go. 
I do this by a process of willing. I fix my mind on C's 
mind and I say to myself, or rather to C, " you must go out 
to walk, it makes no difference whether you want to or not, 
you must; your legs feel all twitchy, you can't keep still," etc., 
and then she begins to feel nervous; she gets what she calls 
the " merry pranks " in her legs and goes to walk to get them 
straightened out. In the same way I make her go to see 
the people I like best when she is out paying visits. I think 
of the persons I wish to see, and how much I wish to see 
them, and C " changes her mind " and goes there. She 
sometimes suspects, now that she knows more about me, 
that I am influencing her and resists the impulse she feels. 
Then we have a struggle in which she sometimes wins. 
With A I always came out best, but C is stronger. The 
greatest conflict of our wills comes when she tries to go to 
the cemetery. She feels it her duty to visit that place, and 
over and over again has tried to do so but I will not go there. 
She has not been there for more than a year. I set my will 
and she sets hers, but I always win. I hold her, by my 
will, so that she can't walk in that direction. [A's 
account of this incident is given in Part I of this article, 
page 19.] This strong willing on my part produces a 

♦These differences in the perceptions have been the subject of experi- 
mentation. The results will be published in the full account. (Ed.) 

42 My Life as a Dissociated Personality 

feeling of exhaustion in C; she feels very tired, and that it is 
really no matter anyway, and finally gives up her intention 
and turns back; she feels as if she were being pulled in two 
different ways. Sometimes it is easy to do this and some- 
times not. It depends a good deal on the state of her 
health and the state of her mind. 

Many times I influence her when she does not suspect 
it, in making her read the book I wish to read or in making 
her go to walk. She considers herself changeable and ner- 
vous and wishes she knew her own mind five minutes at 
a time. For instance: One day it was raining and she did 
not want to go out, but I felt that I could not stay in the 
house another minute. So I willed that she should go to 
walk and she changed her clothes and went out. She 
thought, ** what nonsense this is to go out in this rain. I 
wish I knew what I wanted to do five minutes at a time." 
She would think, " I guess I will go to walk," and then she 
would think, ** No, I don't want to go out in all this rain," 
then in a few minutes, ** I believe I will go to walk," etc., 
and finally she went, more for peace of mind than anything 

Over the normal C who now exists I have no power to 
influence her voluntarily or involuntarily, directly or in- 
directly, so far as I know. There are co-conscious influences 
that are received from other parts of her mind, but I am not 
writing of these in this account.* 

I have made it impossible for A to telephone Dr. Prince. 
A was always telephoning him, and I thought it was very 
foolish to do so, particularly as it usually resulted in sup- 
pressing me as a personality. So when A started toward the 
telephone I held her, by my will; she could not go to the 
telephone for the purpose of speaking to Dr. Prince. She 
did not know that I did it. It seemed to her that while she 
wished to speak to him she had better not bother him 
after all, and then she would be so blue and depressed that 
I would " come." 

Sometimes after hypnosis the first unstable C to whom 
I am referring could remember, in a way, some of my acts.f 

♦Investigation has shown other co-conscious phenomena and influence 
distinct from those of the B complex. An account of this is reserved. (Ed.) 
fThese memories were brought back by suggestion. (Ed.) 

My Life as a Dissociated Personality 43 

The memories were in the form of visual pictures, and it al- 
ways seemed to me that she remembered only the things that 
Dr. Prince knew about himself. I, in the alternating state, 
was thinking of this one night after I had gone to bed and 
wondered whether, if I should hide A's watch and rings. Dr. 
Prince could make C remember it — not knowing it himself. I 
felt too lazy, however, to get up and hide them, but in the 
morning they were gone. I knew where they were, for I re- 
membered she got up in her sleep and hid them in a cufF box 
where they were found by her sister. Then another night 
whenlwas co-cons ciousyl wondered ifl could hy willingm^kt 
A get up in her sleep and do the same thing. So I willed that 
she should get up in her sleep and hide her watch and rings 
that night. I did not designate any place. She did it 
or at least in the morning they were gone and could not be 
found for some time, until Dr. Prince discovered that they 
had been hidden in her sleep under some cushions on the 
landing of the stairs.* 

When A is present I can " come '' voluntarily by 
willing, i.e., blot A out and then I " come.'' When C is 
present it is more difficult, but I can sometimes do it, i.e., 
when she is excited or depressed or upset in any way, physi- 
cally or mentally. I can always do it with A except when she 
has a bad headache. This seems paradoxical, because with 
this exception when she is in poor health I can come more 
easily. Usually for a few days after A had had suggestion 
from Dr. Prince I did not " come.'' I don't know whether 
I could not or did not feel like trying. By willing I mean 
I would say to A — " Get away," " Go away," " Get out of 
the way," " Let me come," ** I will come," and then A 
disappeared. She was gone and I was there. It was 
almost instantaneous. With C I had to make a different 
effort. I had to think more about it when I wanted to 
come; that I must be the personality because of the things 
I wanted to do; that I must come; that I would come. It 
sometimes took a minute or two to get rid of C. Her 
thoughts stopped. I don't know what became of them. 
The times, however, when I came by willing were com- 
paratively few compared with the times when I came 

*This was done through hypnosis. The articles were found as re- 
membered in hypnosis. (Ed.) 

44 My Life as a Dissociated Personality 

spontaneously, but there were many times. Sometimes the 
wish to change would blot out A without actual willing. 
Example: There was a dinner party to which I was very 
anxious to go, and while A was dressing she decided she 
would not go and started to cross the room to take up the 
telephone to say she would not be there, and I wanted 
to go so much that she lost herself before she reached the 
telephone. My thoughts were, *' I want to go," " You must 
go,'' but not, *' I must come," etc. 


Ordinarily the two streams of thought run on side 
by side without interfering with each other. C may be 
reading or studying something that interests us both, and 
our minds are occupied in the same way. I am contented 
and all goes well. At other times C may be reading and I 
may not be interested. I may not like the book or may 
want to do something else. I feel restless and dissatisfied, 
and soon C begins to feel the same. She can't fix her mind 
on what she is reading, puts down the book, goes to the 
piano but can't play, starts a letter but does not finish it, 
etc. This is what I call an involuntary influence. In this 
case I do not have the power to " come " or to make C do 
the thing I want to do, in fact, perhaps I do not know 
what I want to do myself, but my state of mind makes her 
nervous and upset. As an example of involuntary influence 
I will take the following incident, as it is fresh in my mem- 
ory. A few days ago Dr. Putnam kindly allowed C to see 
a patient of his who is suffering from a form of hysteria. 
She could not put her feet down flat on the floor, but turned 
her toes up and tried to walk on her heels and the sides of 
her feet, and as she walked she trembled all over and breathed 
irregularly.* I was much interested in the matter, and after 
we got home kept wondering how the girl managed to walk 
that way — it seemed so difficult. There was in my mind 
a picture of the girl with her toes turned up, trembling and 
breathing hard; I was imagining how it would seem to walk 
that way and to tremble all over, etc. I was not paying 

*This was a case of hysterical astasia-abasia of a peculiar type. (Ed.) 

My Life as a Dissociated Personality 45 

any attention to C's train of thought, being absorbed in 
my own, and did not consider at all how my thoughts 
might affect her until I became aware that she was trembling 
from head to foot, that her toes were all curled up, and that 
she could hardly keep her feet flat on the floor. She was in 
great distress of mind, as she thought her condition was 
caused by her extreme suggestibility, and that she must 
be very ill to be so easily aflFected. She was so much dis- 
turbed that she telephoned Dr. Prince, asking him to help her 
to steady herself. I did not intend to produce such an effect. 
It would seem plain that my train of thought influenced her. 

At another time C was asked to go for a long automobile 
ride and dine in the country, coming home in the evening. 
I was very anxious to go, but I had promised Dr. Prince not 
to interfere with C. I did not try to " come," but I could not 
help wanting to go, and I thought to myself, " OI I wish 
she would go." C declined at first, as I knew she would, 
but as my longing increased she began to waver, hesitated, 
and finally said she would go. She felt that she ought not 
to go, that it was better not to accept such invitations, and 
hardly knew why she should have changed her mind. 
She felt provoked with herself about it, but as she changed 
to me as an alternating personality soon after we started, 
it was all right. 

C once had a visual hallucination of Dr. Prince, because 
I was thinking of him. She was thinking of entirely different 
matters, but I was thinking that if it were not for Dr. Prince 
I might, perhaps, stay all the time, and was wondering why 
it was that I did not go away somewhere; why it was that I 
felt bound to keep C's appointments with him, etc. As 
I was thinking all this C suddenly saw Dr. Prince standing 
before her. He was so real that she spoke his name, saying, 
** Why, Dr. Prince! " She was not asleep, but was lying 
in bed looking at the fire when she had this hallucination. 
She knew it was a vision, but it was very distinct. 

I one day wrote something in the diary, which has been 
kept by all of us, which A did not understand, and she took 
the book to Dr. Prince. I did not care to have him read 
what I wrote in my diary, and so that night I wrote a note to 
A, saying that I was going to put the diary where she could 

46 My Life as a Dissociated Personality 

not find it and that she should never see it again. I did not, 
however, do so, but left it in the drawer where it was always 
kept. A found this note from me in the morning and went 
at once to see if the diary was gone. It was right there, but 
'she could not see it; she took it in her hand several times in 
searching through the drawer but could not see it and did not 
do so for a week or more. When she did see it she could not 
understand how it came to be there and thought I must have 
** come '' in the night and put it back. She wrote it so in the 
diary at the time. A writes, Sept. 19, 1907: ** It is the 
strangest thing about this diary. I have not been able 
to find it for a week or more and I know it was not in that 
drawer last night, but I have been myself all day and how 
could B have put it back again .? I cannot understand it 
at all — perhaps she came in the night.'' A had seen Dr. 
Prince that day and I suppose that is why she could see the 
diary when she came home. 


Though C does not remember her dreams when she is 
awake she feels their influence, especially if it is a depressing 
one. She dreamed a few nights ago of a very distressing 
event which really occurred several years ago, and which 
gave her an intense emotional shock. In the dream she lived 
over again all the emotion she experienced at the time, all 
the feeling of horror, sorrow, fear, and self-reproach; also 
the physical sensation of nausea and headache which followed 
the shock. When she woke she had no remembrance of 
her dream, but she felt the depression, the headache, and 
the nausea. 

Last night she had a dream which affected her in the 
same way. She dreamed she was standing on the top of a 
very high mountain where she could see all the country 
for miles around. She was alone and the wind was blowing 
her hair and dress. It was at sunset, and the sky was filled 
with clouds which took various shapes and were colored by 
the setting sun. The upper part of the sky was filled with 
pictures which were framed in small white clouds touched 
with gold on the edges where they curled over. Some were 
landscapes, some were portraits. One portrait was of her 

My Life as a Dissociated Personality 47 

mother, very, very beautiful — and all were in colors. Be- 
low these pictures were flowers of every kind and description 
— rose gardens, old-fashioned gardens, wreaths, single 
flowers — a perfect mass of color. Above all this there was 
one cloud which had no color and no particular shape, but 
which attracted her attention more than the rest; she was 
fascinated by it and watched it. The sun went down and 
all the pictures vanished, but this one cloud remained and 

took the shape of a man — Mr. (her husband). She 

reached her hands to him and said, ** Oh, speak to me," 
but he looked at her very sorrowfully and turned away. 
Then she had that same feeling of nausea, headache, and 
weariness, and covered her eyes. When she looked again 
it was not her husband, but Dr. Prince, and she called to 
him and said, " Dr. Prince, \i you do not speak to me I shall 
throw myself down the mountain,'' and Dr. Prince stretched 
out his hand and looked very funny, and he said : ** If all the 
world were apple pie and all the sea were ink, what would 
we do for cocktails.'' And C said, ** Dr. Prince, you are 
perfectly horrid." Then she woke up, but she felt ill, just as 
she did in the dream, and when she saw Dr. Prince that morn- 
ing she told him she felt very ill. Now all that C* remembers 
of that dream is of standing on the mountain with the wind 
blowing her hair and dress, and of seeing her husband and 
Dr. Prince. She does not remember anything else. I 
was awake when she dreamed this dream, for I know what 
was going on in the house and C does not. She did not hear 
the maid go downstairs or any of the sounds in the house. 
Her dreams are usually depressing though occasionally 
they are amusing. C sometimes remembers the main 
features of her dreams but none of the details.f 

*This is correct. (C.) 

tC has been examined on numerous occasions for memory of dreams, 
and it has been found that she rarely remembers them, though they are 
recovered in hypnosis. The persistence of headache, nausea, and de- 
pression following a dream has been frequently noted and removed by a 
simple suggestion. (Ed.) 



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